Unlocking Risk of Rain 2 characters, or survivors, is an integral part of the game that allows you to have entirely different experiences as you play, each one a wholly new take on the systems and mechanics. More have been added over time but we've adjusted this page to match, so check out our page below on how to unlock every Risk of Rain 2 character for yourself.
MUL-T is arguably the easiest character to unlock. All you need to do is clear the first stage five times. You'll naturally unlock MUL-T just by playing, and you also can speed up the process by farming the first stage. Just start a new single player game on easy difficulty, blast through the first zone, quit, and repeat.
In theory, you can unlock the Huntress even faster than MUL-T, but it takes a little more skill. You'll need to clear stages one, two, and three in one run without dying. This is totally doable on single player, especially if you play on easy, but it will also work in multiplayer. Either way, just play it safe and press onward.
Like MUL-T, you'll eventually unlock the Engineer passively while playing. To unlock him, you need to complete 30 stages. It doesn't matter what stages you clear, what characters you use, or what difficulty you play on. You could farm the first stage 30 times on or complete three impressive ten-stage runs. Just keep playing the game, basically. Obviously, playing on easy will speed up the process.
Now we're getting into the stranger unlocks. To get the Artificer, you'll need to collect ten Lunar Coins and use them to free Artificer from the ice prison inside the blue item shop. Lunar Coins randomly drop from enemies, so just keep playing to earn more. If you're playing in multiplayer and someone in your group still needs the Artificer, be sure to ping Lunar Coins and share the wealth.
Once you have ten coins, you'll need to visit the blue item shop. It can be accessed via a special portal which sometimes spawns after you defeat a boss. You can use this portal instead of the teleporter, and if you do, you'll get to visit a special item shop before starting the next stage. The Artificer is located inside this shop next to a newt-like merchant. Walk up to her ice prison and use your ten coins to free her.
The blue item shop portal will spawn randomly at the end of stages, but you can also force it to appear by spending one Lunar Coin at the Altar of Newt located somewhere in the current stage. Note that you need to activate the altar before summoning the boss for that stage, otherwise it won't work. And if you do activate the altar, you'll need 11 Lunar Coins total to cover its cost and still have enough for the Artificer.
Many players have reported a bug with the Artificer not appearing in the item shop while playing in multiplayer. If this happens to you and you've got ten Lunar Coins, just boot up a single player game and play until you get to the blue portal. The Artificer should be there.
With no final boss to speak of just yet, the Mercenary is the closest thing to a finish line in Risk of Rain 2. To unlock him, you'll need to clear seven stages in one run and go through a special Celestial Portal. Like the blue portal that leads to the item shop, the Celestial Portal can be used instead of the teleporter. If you use it, you'll be whisked away to a Celestial Realm with a short jumping puzzle inside. At the end of this puzzle you'll find a large obelisk which gives you the option to "obliterate" yourself. Obliterating yourself at the obelisk will end your run immediately and unlock the Mercenary. (If you already have the Mercenary, you can instead take the return portal next to the obelisk.)
There are no shortcuts to the Mercenary. Playing on easy will soften the grind, but you'll still have to clear seven stages. Pick your favorite character, grab some friends, and start shooting.
Unlike the other survivors, you won't naturally unlock REX while playing the game. You have to do two very specific things. Start by retrieving the battery pack from the back of your escape pod when you load in. Just pop the panel off and grab it - it's an Equipment item, so you'll know once you've got it. Your goal is to take this battery pack to the fourth stage, the Abyssal Depths, and pop it into REX to power him up. The catch is that the battery pack will explode and kill you if you go below 50% health, plus you can't use any Equipment items to help you out.
Play it safe, buy all the defensive and healing items you can, and make your way to the Abyssal Depths. I recommend using a ranged character like Huntress or the Commando, as they can both hit from far away and escape sticky situations with a dodge. Once you reach the Abyssal Depths, head to the top of the stage using the jump jets along the ground. You'll find REX dormant on a small platform near the top. Approach him, pop in the battery pack, and you'll unlock him as a playable survivor.
To unlock the Loader, you need to defeat the unique boss of the new area Siren's Call - not the Teleporter boss, but a special boss that only appears after a short ritual of sorts. There are small blue eggs dotted around Siren's Call. Once you destroy enough of these eggs, the boss - which I swear is a Servitor from Destiny - will appear in the middle of the map. So, just play until you roll Siren's Call on your fourth stage - or access it directly via the new portals in the Newt shop - and be sure to crack some eggs.
For more info, check out our Risk of Rain 2 challenges guide!